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CULTURE

Contemporary Art Inspired by Classic Italian Horror Films

CULTURE

Contemporary Art Inspired by Classic Italian Horror Films

“My Blood Runs Yellow: A Tribute to Giallos” at LA's Project Gallery

by David Graver
on 11 July 2016

For anyone smitten with classic Italian horror films—a genre of thrills, eroticism, drama and gore—a new exhibition in Los Angeles pays tribute by way of artworks from 13 contemporary artists. “My Blood Runs Yellow: A Tribute to Giallos,” at Project Gallery, was curated by Alix Sloan of Sloan Fine Art and her husband Drew Fitzpatrick, the person who introduced her to Giallo (a term that represents both film and literature in the Italian horror category) works. Sloan called upon artists to create pieces inspired by the genre and the resulting presentation features striking works of nuance, often tinged with darkness.

"Drew has been a fan of Italian horror films since childhood and introduced me to the genre a few years ago," Sloan shares with CH. "It’s been an orgy of blood-splatter ever since—on film, not the carpet thankfully. Of course we love the chic settings, clothes, colors and often insane stories. They’re so stylish. But more than anything we’re both amazed that these films manage to be simultaneously grisly and gory and also stunningly beautiful, even elegant. You can freeze-frame a more well-known film like 'Suspiria' or a more obscure and unsubtle title like 'Strip Nude for Your Killer' and the images from both seem almost painterly." Echoing this, there's an elegance to the work on display.

That said, Italian horror still remains on the outskirts of popular culture—coveted by a niche few. "We’ve often discussed how the Giallo genre has influenced film, fine art, music and literature since its inception. In fact we’re saddened it’s not talked about more often outside of certain cinema circles." This ultimately drove the couple to curate an exhibition. "We saw putting this show together as a wonderful opportunity to pay tribute, and draw as much attention as possible, to the genre and its influence."

"When it came time to invite artists for the show, we were extremely selective. We kept it to artist we knew were big Giallo fans like Jean-Pierre Roy, Kristen Schiele and Jessicka Addams and others whose work was clearly influenced by the genre, whether consciously or not, like Jonathan Viner, Owen Smith and Valerie Pobjoy," she continues. "We were very clear that we were looking for their interpretation and hoping to get a broad range. We trusted them to run with that direction without interference." Among the other artists' works, there are acrylic paintings, oil works on linen, wood and even aluminum, and Addams delivered a 3D mixed media work.

Despite the diversity of works and the vast inspiration sources, all of the pieces work well together. Sloan noticed cohesion early on. "We were thrilled when the images started arriving. We have works that directly reference characters and imagery alongside much more subtle, mood-driven pieces. Overall the exhibition came together incredibly well with a tone that’s true to the Giallo spirit," she says. And that spirit is one of lavishness and intonation, edgy energy and emotion.

“My Blood Runs Yellow: A Tribute to Giallos” at Project Gallery (961 Chung King Road, Los Angeles) is on now through 30 July 2016.

Images courtesy of Sloan Fine Art

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